in Mexico, friends, potholes, waterfalls, topes, 6 tacos, Chip's cafe, fireflies, steep ladders, impassable roads, catching a kid who decides to jump, the north wind
03.05.2015 81 °F
My first blog mentions finding beauty in Mexico. That's what being here means. Leaving home does that to you. Living in Mexico does that too. Do I have hot water when I come home? Is my car scraped and beaten by rocks, topes, dirt, perhaps a few holes? Was I too scared to climb through the cave to jump through the waterfall? Did I confirm that beer tastes horrible, especially when people tell you to drink it with ice, salt and lime? Did I find another dead cat along the side of the road???? https://www.google.com.mx/maps/place/Tamasopo,+S.L.P./@21.9240928,-99.3921452,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x85d5c329bf85bdbd:0xc8cafcba72a0b04b
==Puente de Dios==
When I jumped into a waterfall-fed river pool, and floated through a cave lit up with the sun's reflecting rays this Saturday, I was sure that I had found the eighth wonder of the world (along with the thousands of other tourists who floated along beside me). There were more people there than I could begin to count, but that only added to the beauty. To be in a place like that in solitude would have been a miracle in itself, but to be in it with thousands of other people bobbing along in florescent orange life vests made it twice as spectacular.
The current was so strong that most people had to hang onto the ropes that intersected in the middle of the pool. There was no way to get in other than jumping off of a cliff (provided by the gods I am sure). Once I took the plunge and wallowed in a waterfall shower, I hailed my good friends, and we floated with the current through a small hole of a limestone cave. The water was Caribbean Sea blue, lit up from the sun's rays that reflected from underneath. I floated through the cave to the other side, swam back up stream and came back through again, because you should always look at miracles twice to make sure that they are real. Getting back through the cave's opening was a challenge not because of the current, or its small size. It was the steady flow of bobbing tourists seeking the same rush that I had just experienced that made it almost impossible to pass. Driving in Mexico has taught me to pass when you have the chance, so we clung to the rope, found an opening and forged back to our starting point.
I always tell my students that their essays need a hook. Some of the best hooks are the ones that make the reader wonder forever. That is what Puente de Dios did to me. It started with a hook that made me dive in; it squeezed me through the the thesis statement,and opened up into this inexplicable light that I thought I could never experience again, and then spat me out into a flowing river that would eventually spill into the sea to meet up with all of the other wonders of this world.
The second half of the day was spent at an old mill powered by the waterfalls. We could barely find a patch of ground to sit on, but we had fun jumping from high places and watching Chip and his water feats.
If you look closely you can see Chip in the waterfall preparing to jump.
==Cascadas de Tamul, San Luis Potosí, MX==
The plan for Saturday was to rent a giant canoe and paddle to the waterfalls. Since it is Labor Day weekend, everyone else in Mexico had the exact same idea. As we sputtered through the mountains in my low riding 2004 Mazda 3, (Chip, Aliesha, and Esmerelda only had to get out for three topes)dodging potholes, playing chicken, and looking for donkeys, we could see a line of tour buses in the distance. By line, I mean at least thirty, and that does not include private cars and trucks. Although I mentioned the beauty of sharing wonder, enough is enough. So we turned around and decided to approach the Cascadas de Micos, in a way that only Lisa Goodhue (and those like her) would approach something that she wants and will get. For those of you who know the tale about "Goin' on a Lion Hunt," that serves as an appropriate metaphor here, and in most instances, when one takes an adventure. So back we went, up over the mountain, stopping for the five peso bano, the down hill ruts in the road that we missed coming down, hopping out of the Mazda to lighten the load for impassable topes, until we came to the Mexican version of the road less traveled. We were assured that it was only three kilometers -- five minutes tops. If those of you who live in New England think you know about boonin', you don't. Boonin' in Mexico in a low riding 2004 Mazda takes finesse. We managed to weave our way through the maze, without bottoming out once. After paying the farmer to open the gate, we traveled a total of forty minutes to find our destination.
Needless-to-say, this was not a place where tour buses ventured. This was the other side of the waterfall, and we looked over to the other side we saw a canoe-jam of tourists who, if they could have seen us, were probably wondering why they could not be where we were. We had an option of rappelling down the falls, but since Chip did not consider it, I did not suggest giving it a try. But we had to go down to see the waterfalls from the bottom.
And there we found wonder. A place that made me imagine how it got there, how the mist from the waterfall eroded the other side of the canyon, how it would look during the rainy season when the water was ten feet higher, how it the green growth on the other side must feel like velvet , or what would happen if we dove in? We could with the current until we reached the log jam and crawl up the other side of the canyon feeling the spray at or backs as we climbed to the other side of the falls. Isn't that what wonder is? A big what if. What if I dove into this miracle or climbed through it?
When our day was done, we hiked back along the trail, waterlogged and full. We approached a rich, deep, blue pool, and we couldn't resist. Chip and I jumped first. Ella (age 7) was standing on the sidelines, and I invited her to jump. I knew that I would have jumped when I was her age, but I am an exception. I looked her in the eye; she looked at me, and before I knew it she jumped. And the wonder on her face, that expression, captured the entire day. There was no photo; there were no words, but those of us who were there, those of us who saw her face as she plunged off the lip of the river's edge, we knew we had shared the wonder the wonder of the world that day.
Waiting for Ella to surface